Sinn Féin spokesperson on Addiction, Recovery and Wellbeing, Thomas Gould TD, has today called on the Minister to issue updated guidelines for addiction recovery meetings.
Speaking in the Dáil, Teachta Gould said:
“When I first raised this issue last year, when these groups weren’t able to meet, the Minister confirmed to me that they provide an essential healthcare service.
“These are groups like the AA, the NA and SMART Recovery which do vital work for those in recovery.
“Having spoken to people in recovery and hearing about the wonderful work these groups do, I couldn’t agree more. Recovery is a difficult journey and the pandemic has made it harder. Instead of being an ally to those in recovery, sadly this government is just another barrier.
“But these groups are still extremely limited in that they can only have 20 people in a room with 2 metres distance between each. This means they are still being forced to turn people in recovery away.
“At a time when indoor sports and events can go ahead with up to 100 in a room, this is downright insulting to those in recovery.
“How can the Minister stand over this?
“The Minister told me he’d be resolving this on the 9th September. A month later and I’m now being told that it’ll all be sorted by the 22nd October when most restrictions lift.
“What I’m hearing on the ground is that this mightn’t be true and that these groups are still asking for specific guidelines to be published for them allowing them to return to normal meetings.
“Last week, I published Sinn Féin’s Recovery Charter and Minister I might suggest you read through it because I’m not quite sure that there is an understanding in government of what recovery means or what people in recovery need.
“These are an essential healthcare service and they’re not asking for a lot. It’s time for them to be given the guidelines they’re requesting.”